Technology helping those waiting for heart transplant
Jan Sims, CTV London
Published Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:19PM EST
Technology is revolutionizing organ transplant surgery and a southwestern Ontario woman is living proof.
Suzana De Sousa was among the first patients at the London Health Sciences Centre to get a device to improve heart function while she waited for a donor heart to become available.
Now De Sousa has an extra special reason to celebrate the season after her holiday wish for a new heart by Christmas came true.
The 34-year-old Kitchener woman was back in London on Thursday for a follow-up visit, two months after her heart transplant surgery at LHSC.
She says "I feel great. I breathe better. My memory is sharper. I just feel I can certainly take on the world."
De Sousa was initially outfitted with the HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist Device in April. It's a portable system that helped her heart while she awaited a transplant.
"I love this machine. It saved my life."
Cardiac surgeon Dr. Dave Nagpal explains "It increased the amount of blood circulating that her heart wasn't strong enough to pump on it's own."
De Sousa is only the second patient at LHSC to receive the HeartMate. Since then there have been several others and the results are encouraging.
"It certainly helped me get stronger physically, mentally to be prepared for this transplant," DeSousa says.
The full-time student and mother of two says she has resumed her busy life and her post-transplant prognosis is good.
"With this heart transplantation she'll be able to lead years and years [of] a much more normal. satisfying, productive life," Nagpal says.
And while she's grateful for the technology that's aided her, she has special thanks for the people who have helped on the journey especially the heart donor's family.
"I would love to meet them someday, but I'm just really grateful."
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